A NEWPORT mental health charity has ‘bounced back’ after vandals targeted the centre causing an estimated £1,000 worth of damage.
Volunteers at charity Growing Space were shocked to return to work in January to discover that vandals had broken in to the centre, based at Kensington Court, Maindee, and set fire to the centres polytunnel, as well as tipping over the greenhouse in a random attack.
The registered charity aims to help adults with mental health problems reach goals and improve their quality of life though real work skills and a support network.
The attack, which took place between December 24- and December 28, was believed to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on clients. But now the charity says it has recoveredbounced back after receiving donations from the public to help rebuild the vital polytunnel.
Wendy Carrie, who has been a supervisor at the centre for the last two years, said the clients and staff had pulled together to win gold in the residential homes, sheltered housing and day centres category of this year’s Newport in Bloom competition.
“We have really bounced back,” she said. “The clients have been amazing and have worked so hard to rebuild the polytunnel.
“They got really involved in the fundraising side.
“To re-build the polytunnel It cost around £700 and so much of that has come though donations.
“So much equipment was lost from the vandalism, but we have had local neighbours and friends bring in garden equipment.”
At the centre, Clients’ work in the polytunnels to grow flowers, fruit and vegetables from seed, which they then sell to generate funds for the centre.
They also have the opportunity to gain land-based qualifications from their work, which adds to their employability skills and restores confidence.
“The project has become a lot more sustainable (since the vandalism),” Ms Carrie added. “The Newport in Bloom award is like a confirmation of just how hard everyone has worked this year.
“The vandalism was a real setback, but we have recovered from that and I am really proud.”